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Thomas Davis (active 1722-35)

Pair of pistols c. 1730

20.5 cm (barrel length) | RCIN 61603

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  • No bill for this pair of pistols survives in the Duchy of Cornwall accounts. This form of pistol with a ‘turn-off’ barrel to allow for loading was extremely popular in the early eighteenth-century, particularly for guns for personal protection which did not have to be reloaded rapidly. The locks include safety catches – another innovation of the period.

    Little is known of Thomas Davis, although he was made free of the Gunmakers’ Company in 1722. In employing brass barrels for his pistols, Davis was participating in one of the debates of the period over the best materials to be used in gun making. Although brass was softer than steel, George Edie, in his Art of English Shooting of 1777 recommended its use ‘as being less liable to be damaged by wet, and no trouble to keep clean, [it] is certainly preferable to steel’.

    Text adapted from The First Georgians; Art and Monarchy 1714 - 1760, London, 2014.

    First recorded in the Royal Collection in 1822

  • Measurements

    20.5 cm (barrel length)

    35.0 x 14.0 x 5.3 cm (whole object)

    1.5 cm (Width) (caliber (diameter of gun))

  • Category
  • Place of Production

    Greater London [England]

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